ROMANCE

The View Was Exhausting

Grand Central. Jul. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9781538734902. $27. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
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DEBUT Award-winning actress and tabloid regular Whitman “Win” Tagore is an expert at managing her public image. As an Asian British woman in an industry that views her with everything from skepticism to outright racism, Win’s strategy includes a tumultuous, on-again, off-again fake relationship with society playboy Leo Milanowski. Their imaginary love affair has developed into a real friendship and one of the most stable relationships in Win’s life, so the hint of real romantic feelings is a terrifying and disruptive threat to her carefully ordered existence. Readers who enjoy plots centering on the glitz and glamour of alcohol-fueled industry parties, chic red-carpet events, and dazzling fashion photo shoots will find all the A-list Hollywood high jinks they could hope for, combined with the drama and angst of a love story kept at arm’s length.
VERDICT The froth and fun of a jet-setting romance of the rich and famous is grounded by the realities of racism and misogyny in a difficult, image-focused industry. Win’s choice between the career she loves and taking a chance on romance is treated with complexity, and readers who appreciate a serious approach to the genre standard of the fake relationship will enjoy that there are no easy answers for this paparazzi-hounded couple.
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